24 October 2009

Le Salon

MIAF 2009
Le Salon
Peeping Tom
Melbourne International Arts Festival
23 October 2009
the Arts Centre, Playhouse

Saturday 24 October

Peeping Tom’s Le Salon is another amazing show from Belgium. It’s my pick of the 2009 Melbourne International Arts Festival and may yet be my favourite show of the year.

Physical theatre never sounds as arty as dance, but Peeping Tom have melded theatre with music and dance to create something original, intimate and almost excruciatingly personal.

With themes and glimpses of loss and decline in the most ‘normal’ of lives, it maintains a throat-tightening sense of melancholy, whilst offering a parallel sense of dark humour and even hope. From an old man’s botched suicide to the woman who may have lost her baby to a woman who has lost her sexuality, Le Salon is like spying on your friends and seeing their deepest hidden fears and secrets – and remembering why we all leave some things unsaid.

And the dance. Oh my. I’ve not seen anything like it. At times, it seemed inhuman, like broken bodies forced into unnatural positions by malevolent gods, but it was fluid and as controlled as the most prima of ballerinas. And it showed how unnecessary words are. The visceral reaction was as potent as re-living the times when I’d felt or witnessed such despair, fear and loss.

This short season claims to be the last performances of Le Salon, as Peeping Tom develop each new work based on their last. It hurts to know that this won’t be seen for years to come, but how wonderful to know that something new is being created from it. And please bring it to Australia – or I’m coming to Belgium to see it.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

Friday 23 October

Festivals rely on careful program reading and planning. With such short runs (and a significant lack of communal Artists Lounges), shows are over by the time those vital word of mouth recommendations get around. So, perhaps its up to word of blog to rave about Le Salon.

2pm and 8pm tomorrow (Saturday 24) are the last two performaces (ever) of this amazing piece of physical theatre. I'm quite devastated that they won't be performing it again, but ecstatic knowing that they will create something else; even if I do have to go to Beligium to see it.

It is hands down my favourite show of the festival (sorry Apocalypse Bear, you've been bumped) and may be my show of the year.

Watching Peeping Tom felt like spying on your friends and seeing them expose those deep, dark fears and secrets that we all keep hidden, and remembering why some things are best left unsaid.

And it's told in a way that just has to be seen. I have never seen dance like this. Almost inhuman in it's expression, the dancers are like broken bodies that still have complete control. The strength and fluidity and originality had me sitting on the edge of my seat, simply gobsmaked.

Arty review will be up tomorrow. But, if you trust anything I've ever said about theatre - SEE THIS.

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